In the last issue of MaxChevy we looked at adjustable shock absorbers in general and Strange Engineering’s billet bolt-in shocks in particular.  To recap: it wasn’t uncommon for drag racers to swap the front shocks for something that was either worn out or had the fluid drained. Out back, something stiff from a big, heavy car was often used. Today, shock absorbers are available in countless configurations ranging from simple, inexpensive single-adjustable models to three-way or electrically adjustable shocks.  Modern damper technology gives you the opportunity to control the dynamics of the racecar.                                  

Strange Engineering front single-adjustable shocks are set at the adjuster.  Turn the adjuster fully counterclockwise.  That’s the beginning of adjustment or at full soft. From this point, you can establish the baseline for your car.  See the text for initial settings based upon application (street or strip).

At the core of it, a shock absorber is a hydraulic device that resists chassis movement by passing oil through orifices and valved passages. With an adjustable unit, being able to manipulate the fluid movement through the valving of the shock changes the dampening characteristics.

Rebound (extension) is the shock's resistance to being pulled apart. It can be used to control chassis separation, the point at which the axle housing is pushed away from the chassis and the tires are applied to the track. During separation, forces push the racecar up and forward. The axle housing sees the opposite force (don’t forget the tire sidewalls are also wrapping up) and the tires create traction to begin this movement.

Too much body separation can lead to undesirable side effects: wheel hop can occur as the tire tries to return to its original form (as it unwraps). Stiffening the rebound can control wheel hop. Tire shake is similar to wheel hop and can be addressed similarly.  For the most part, a "bald" starting line will mandate a softer rebound setting to apply the tires with more force. A good, sticky starting line can use a stiffer setting. A stiffer rebound setting on a well-prepped track can provide quicker reaction times.  Essentially, too much separation is an ET and energy waster.